fb pixel

Log In


Reset Password

James scores 34, Cavs down Bulls

CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers' lineups are changing daily. Their defense is a mess, their slow starts are puzzling and the starting point guard is hurt.

Cleveland's got some problems.

LeBron James minimizes them all.

Making a rare start at point guard, James scored 34 points as the Cavs, using another early season lineup, awakened after a sluggish first half and beat the Chicago Bulls 119-112 on Tuesday night.

Although he often handles the ball and runs Cleveland's offense, James had not officially been listed as a guard since 2012 with Miami. The superstar added 13 assists, including a no-look, behind-the-back dish to Jae Crowder for a 3-pointer during Cleveland's 15-3 spurt in the third quarter.

The Bulls did all they could. James just did more.

"You're playing against the best player on the planet," Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Kevin Love had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Dwyane Wade, who asked Cavs coach Tyronn Lue to take him out of the starting lineup, came off the bench and added 11 points.

Justin Holiday scored 25 and rookie Lauri Markkanen 19 for Chicago, which made a season-high 17 3-pointers. The 7-foot Markkanen became the first player in NBA history to make 10 3-pointers in his first three career games.

Cleveland trailed 92-91 entering the fourth before Love dropped a 3 and Kyle Korver made a pair of 3s in 33 seconds. Chicago closed within six in the final two minutes, but the Cavs came up with two offensive rebounds to reset the shot clock before James drove past Markkanen for a left-handed layup to make it 118-110.

It was vintage James, perhaps the only player in the game who can play either guard spot, both forward positons and center.

It's how he was raised.

"Ever since I was a kid I've always learned every position on the floor," he said. "The point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and center. And know all the plays, what they're doing and reads. Coach slides me to the 1, I know every set. If he slides me to the 5, I know the 5. I know the 4. I know the 3. I know the 2.

"I know every single play in every single position, so it makes the job a lot easier for me because I know where I should be and what my teammates should do."

CELTICS 110, KNICKS 89: At Boston, Jaylen Brown scored 23 points, Jayson Tatum added 22 and Boston beat New York.

Kyrie Irving added 20 points and seven assists. Al Horford finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

After dropping their first two games to open the season, the Celtics have won two straight. The Knicks remain winless through their first three games.

PACERS 130, TIMBERWOLVES 107: At Minneapolis, Victor Oladipo scored 28 points and Cory Joseph added 21 to lead hot-shooting Indiana past Minnesota.

Darren Collison had 15 points and 16 assists, Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 points and Domantas Sabonis had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers, who shot 67 percent from the floor.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points and seven rebounds for the Timberwolves, who came out flat after a thrilling last-second win at Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Minnesota was missing forward Jimmy Butler, who sat out with an upper respiratory infection. Shabazz Muhammad took Butler's spot in the starting lineup, and he contributed to Minnesota's slow start, going 1-for-5 from the floor and missing two free throws in the first quarter.

Enes Kanter led New York with 16 points and 19 rebounds. But he got most of them in a first half in as his team struggled mightily from the field. The Knicks scored the first basket of the night, but never led again. They shot just 42 percent and went 1 of 12 from the 3-point line.

MAGIC 125, NETS 121: At Orlando, Fla., Aaron Gordon scored a career-high 41 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining, and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Orlando over Brooklyn.

Evan Fournier added 28 points in game that went back and forth late in the fourth quarter. He finished the scoring with two free throws with 15.5 seconds to play.

D'Angelo Russell scored 27 points for the Nets, while DeMarre Carroll had 19 and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson 18.